1.1 - I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Hon’ble Union Sports Minister for winning the last Lok Sabha election to continue his tenure as Union Sports Minister. Congratulations, sir. I know that you have a vision towards developing untapped talents of millions of young Indians across the nation in the field of sports, and it is your sincere desire that these talents reach their pinnacle. You have many innovative ideas and projects in the pipeline that have not materialised during your previous tenure due to dearth of time. I believe, the Almighty has chosen you, yet again, to be the Union Sports Minister of this great nation so that we would see a new light in the world of sports in the years ahead. The task lain before you is colossal, we all know; and I assure you sir, we are with you every step of the way.

1.2 - India, as we know, is a land of different races, cult and creed - various people or ethnic groups with different beliefs are what India is made of. And this very diversity is where the secret of our strength lies, and it is what keeps us moving forward for a better tomorrow. We must often remind ourselves, as leaders, we are not ordinary citizens. We are constantly watched, weighed and examined in every of our actions and every step we take. And each step we take must be carefully planned. Deeds done today by us have consequences, our actions shall tempt reactions; we are our own biographers of our lives indelibly imprinted on the pages of history. The history we write will not wither away with time, it shall be read by generations to come; we are sowing seeds today, and we shall reap exactly what we have sowed. The future of our descendants rests in our hands. Today, let us ask ourselves if we are creating a better world for generations to come. We may have committed ourselves to making a better world for future generations in the past, but at this juncture let us once again take this moment to re-commit ourselves to that very task with new vigour and zeal.

1.3 - On this auspicious occasion sir, I would like to point out that the Govt of India has done so much for the benefit of sport personnel and the youth of my state. But still, in Mizoram there are so much more to be done for the promotion of sports and harnessing young talents and bringing them to the forefront. My state - Mizoram - is such a small state, there are so many things that we would like to have and achieve. But there are certain things that we could not do on our own due to shortage of funds. Keeping this into perspective, like a child seeking help from his father, I implore you sir, to make our dream come true, and make India proud. Our case is in your hand, for you hold the key to unlock our dream.

2.1 - For those who have not been to my State, Mizoram, I would like to inform you that there are no proper sport infrastructures. But, still we have made quite a number of achievements, and have won a few accolades to our name in certain sports disciplines. At this point in time sir, I would like to highlight only some of the retrospect and activities of my state in sports, and at the same time I pray for assistance that I may make mention of:

2.2 - Catch Them Young Policy: Soon after I entered into office, the Department of Sports and Youth Services launched ‘Catch Them Young’ programme in line with Govt, of India’s policy in all the disciplines established in Mizoram. The response received so far is remarkable. If this policy goes as planned, I believe, it is imminent there would be a spectacular leap towards development and performance in different sports disciplines in the near future.

2.3 - Mizoram - a pool of talents: I would like to invite everyone here today not to overlook the pool of talents that is in my State. Over the years, we have a number of success stories to our credit. I would like to share with you just some of our success stories.

2.4 - Football: We do not have a single football playfield that is worth calling a football field by FIFA’s standard. But still, we have produced very fine football players. If you look at some of the football clubs in India, I am sure you will find that young Mizo boys are important pillars in these football clubs. It almost seems like Indian football is not complete without Mizos anymore. Take the Indian football team for example; so far around 30 Mizo boys have been selected to represent India at different football events held over the years. And to think that these boys never had proper or formal training, the expression amazing does not even begin to describe their achievement and the marks that they have made. And year after year, football clubs in India are scouting for good players in Mizoram, and more players are signed on. Just imagine what we could achieve if we have a proper football ground and if the youngsters in Mizoram are given formal training right from their tender years. The outcome, without a doubt, will be tremendous.

Boxing: With the initiative of Sports Authority of India, an excellent Special Area Games (SAG) Centre was established at Aizawl in the year 1989. Under this SAG, SAI Centre, Boxing, Judo, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Karate players are given training by experts. A good number of athletes passed out from this SAG Centre, and notable achievements at the international level can be seen from Boxer Zoramthanga, Light Fly Weight Bronze medallist at the 6th MRF World Cup 1990 in Bombay; and Jenny R. Lalremliani, Gold medallist at the 4th World Women Boxing Championship 2007 held in Delhi.

2.5 - Archery: The success story in archery is worthy of mention. One fine day, an archery scout came to Mizoram in the hope of finding good archers. He then came to a little village and rounded up some of the village boys. These village boys were asked to aim a target and shoot their catapult. Amongst these boys was a boy named Lalremsanga. Lalremsanga somehow managed to hit his target without fail on that eventful day. To make a long story short, he was then selected by the scout and was given proper training, and became an Olympian representing India. And today, he has been chosen to lead the Indian Archery Team in the next Olympic. It is clear from the story I have just mentioned that it is likely that there would be many more talented young people who have not been given their fair share of chance. And these talents go to waste if not discovered in time. In order to enhance and harness the undiscovered talents Mizoram would need unflustered support from the Centre.

2.6 - Hockey: As SAI extension programme, Women Hockey Academy was instituted at Thenzawl in the year 2004 which has been witnessing good results. Four girls from this academy were selected to represent the country in the Four National held in Japan in 2006. Moreover, two girls have been selected to represent India to participate in the U-18 Asia Cup to be held in Shanghai this year. Another notable result is the inclusion of one player in the Indian Senior team to participate in the World Cup to be held in the USA this year. As I have stated earlier, without proper infrastructure we have achieved this much, this surely proves that talents are there in my state. And I, as a sports minister, am proud to mention this here today. The Hockey Academy is now jointly looked after by the SAI and the Govt, of Mizoram by signing a Memorandum of Understanding wherein it has been agreed upon that Astroturf be laid on the ground so as to cater to the needs of women hockey players in Mizoram. In regard to this, Rupees 2.6 crores has already been sanctioned, and work is underway and the playground is earmarked for inauguration before the end of the current financial year. In this matter, I would like to invite the Hon’ble Union Sports Minister to kindly inaugurate the Astroturf-laid ground once it is completed.

3.0 - Besides these disciplines, much have been achieved in other fields as well. Keeping this into consideration sir, I would like to emphasise the need to set up proper sports infrastructure in Mizoram so as to channelize precious talents to a higher ground.

4.0 - Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that under Centrally Sponsored Scheme there are still some funds yet to be released to the Govt, of Mizoram by the Govt, of India. Under this programme, the Govt, of India allotted nine projects to Mizoram i.e., State Level Sports Complex, Aizawl costing Rs. 568.49 lakhs; Indoor Stadium, Ramhlun costing Rs. 120.00 lakhs; District Level Sports Complex, Saiha costing Rs. 220.80 lakhs; District Level Sports Complex, Mamit costing Rs. 220.28 lakhs; District Level Sports Complex, Champhai costing 209.92 lakhs; District Level Sports Complex, Kolasib costing Rs. 206.02; District Level Sports Complex, Lawngtlai costing Rs. 158.21 lakhs; District Level Sports Complex, Lunglei costing Rs. 116.61 lakhs; and Outdoor Stadium, Dungtlang costing Rs. 36.12 lakhs. Out of these, Rs. 119.59 lakhs only was released by the Ministry, whereas the 25 percent to be met by the State Govt, i.e., Rs. 545.39 lakhs was fully released by the Govt, of Mizoram. Therefore, there is a balance of Rs. 1190.83 lakhs yet to be released by the Govt, of India. And sir, you have already mentioned in your previous term that the balance would be released by ACA, but this has not materialised till date. For non-payment of the balance amount, all the contractors who had already executed the works have been pressing me to release the outstanding amount. Some of them have even gone to a court of law. Therefore, it is my earnest request to you sir, to kindly release the outstanding amount to complete the pending projects.

5.0 - What I have just mentioned are only a few of our activities. In order to get a clear picture of Mizoram a separate paper has been prepared, and I would humbly request you sir, to look into it and lend a helping hand in our endeavours.

6.0 - In conclusion, I would like to stress once again the need to harness and mobilise talent at a young age as we have already started in our Catch Them Young Policy. And it is my prayer that we, as a nation, follow a common approach to bring more positive changes in the years ahead.

6.1 - Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude and happiness for being able to attend this meeting of Sports & Youth Services Ministers, deliberating important issues related to the needs of the youth of today. I hope this kind of meeting is convened at least twice in a year so that the progress made by the respective states may be appraised to each and every one of us, learning from one another the many experiences we have so that we can vehemently move forward in moulding the body, mind and spirit of the youth for a better tomorrow and a better world.

Thank you.

Jai hind.